UNICEF launches COVID-19 vaccine uptake challenge in 6 African countries

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has launched the first ever U-Report Challenge to boost COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in six African countries including Ghana.

U-Report is a messaging tool that empowers young people around the world to engage with and speak out on issues that matter to them.

The U-Report Challenge which is targeted at calling on 13.3 million U-Reporters in Africa to help get vaccines to the unvaccinated would be focused on countries including Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

According to a statement issued by the Fund and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra, the challenge, which is also dubbed the #GiveitAShot challenge, comes a week after COVAX delivered its billionth dose in Rwanda.

“Through improving access and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, the #GiveitAShot challenge aims to activate young people in motivating those eligible in their communities to get vaccinated,” the statement added.

It said that the eight weeks challenge would have COVID-19 information and advocacy messages packaged and disseminated via Short Message Service (SMS), Facebook Messenger and other communication channels.

“Weekly messages will be sent on U-Report to encourage young people to learn about COVID-19 vaccines. They will be engaged in community actions (both online and offline),” it added.

UNICEF said it had been estimated that about 10 per cent of the adult population on the African continent is vaccinated for which reason the initiative was timely and relevant for its intended purpose.

Also, it indicated that Nigeria and South Africa celebrities, also U-Report supporters, Kate Henshaw and Maps Maponyane were teaming up with UNICEF for the initiative.

Kate Henshaw was therefore quoted to have said that “Africa has been battling COVID-19 for two years now. At a time of Omicron, it is more important than ever to get vaccines to the unvaccinated.”

“If we want to combat misinformation, it is key to mobilise the continent’s U-Reporters and provide much-needed information on COVID-19 vaccines to save people’s lives,” she added.

U-Report is currently active in 88 countries worldwide, with 19.3 million U-Reporters all over the world, and works with SMS, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, and WhatsApp.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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